Guest post contributed by Hannah Whittenly
It’s the creative souls throughout history who’ve given expression to the often inexpressible. Think Picasso’s “Guernica” or Steven Spielberg’s “Schindler’s List.” These creative souls know things that others don’t and see things that others can’t. They translate the human experience for the rest of us. Some of what they know comes from their artistic souls and some of it comes from living life day-to-day as an artist. For those who aspire to a creative life, here are four of the most important things that creatives know.
1. Some Things Can’t Be Expressed in Words Alone
That sounds pretty cliché, but it happens to be true. According to Psychology Today, making art helps people integrate their experiences, to tie the feeling part of their brains with the verbal part of their brains. Although no one is exactly sure why the act of making art and then making judgments about it supports the acquisition of insights. It also fosters emotional comprehension.
2. You Can Be Yourself
One of the cool things about being a creative type is that you can show people what your soul looks like on paper, canvas, cloth, or film. The good news is that nowadays, technology has opened up how an artist can express him or herself. For example, the screen-printing artist can get special materials, like those you can get at Schilling Graphics, to create a series of T-shirts that truly express that artist’s creative vision. Aside from being personally satisfying, this is a great way to promote an artist’s work in an often whimsical way. Other type of digital art that might be worth trying might involve Photoshop, video making, etc.
3. People Will Ask You to Work for “Exposure”
Mechanics work for money. Dentists work for money. So do receptionists, bankers, and bartenders. However, for some reason, many people will ask artists to work for free, often telling the artists that they’ll get good exposure in lieu of compensation for their work. What people don’t realize is that these creative professionals need to earn money for a living just like everyone else. While the people asking them to work for exposure mean well, in the end, such beliefs are counterproductive for everyone.
4. At Least You…
This is a corollary to the paragraph above. Art is a business. Many people don’t look at it that way, but it is. That being the case, very often these professionals hear well-meant things like “Well, at least you wrote the book” or “It’s a good way of expressing yourself.”
While all of those things may be true, it is also true that artists can and do make money making art. At least those artists with business skills do. Some of the most successful artsy types on Amazon right now – Bella Forrest, Johanna Basford, Hugh Howey – are self-employed arts professionals who’ve made it big. They also happen to be good businesspeople.
Final Thoughts on Creative Souls
Being a creative person is rewarding and challenging and insightful all at once. Their chosen professions can not only be healing and integrating, they can also be self-revealing and even frustrating.
However, despite the doubts that they may encounter, it’s possible for these artsy types to thrive. And there’s good reason for them to do so. With the advent of the Internet, art-making can be just as viable a career path as some more traditional ones like teaching or finance. It can also be a way for them to express themselves deeply by making T-shirts, portraits, and other cool pieces for themselves and for others.